Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘tree

A large redbud tree blossoming

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Here’s how a large redbud tree, Cercis canadensis var. texensis, looked in the town of Cedar Park on March 17th. While no bright St. Patrick’s Day green put in an appearance here, the scene’s color scheme does remind us that before the middle of the 20th century Americans went with pink for baby boys and blue for baby girls. In the realm of geology rather than sociology, the magnetic polarity of the earth has also occasionally reversed. So have a few of my opinions, and presumably so have some of yours as well.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 25, 2021 at 4:28 AM

Great purple hairstreak butterfly and Mexican plum blossoms

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On March 15th at McKinney Falls State Park many flying insects were drawn to the heady blossoms of a Mexican plum tree (Prunus mexicana). Among those insects was a great purple hairstreak butterfly (Atlides halesus). You can see that despite its common name, it doesn’t look purple. You can also see in the second picture the dense multitude of blossoms that adorned the tree.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2021 at 4:29 AM

Ice and Ashe junipers

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Of all the kinds of trees in Austin, Ashe junipers (Juniperus ashei) seem to have been the hardest hit by the February ice storm, with the weight of the accumulated ice causing many large limbs to break. That was the fate of several in our yard. What else could a photographer do but look for opportunities in the wreckage? An Ashe juniper on our front lawn yielded these three pictures (and more) on February 19th.

The second view looks straight upward. The last strikes me as a bent ice nail.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2021 at 4:36 AM

More ice pictures

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Above is a February 12th view from farther back of the ice-covered possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) in Great Hills Park that provided the close-up you saw last time. Below is a lichen-covered oak twig that ice added its own kind of coating to.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2021 at 4:37 AM

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Winter comes to Austin for the second time in 2021

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First came the January 10th snowfall, which you’ve seen in a bunch of pictures. On February 11th we got hit with an ice storm, and the temperature has only briefly been above freezing since then. On the 12th I spent a couple of hours in Great Hills Park photographing ice-coated plants, including a possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua), many of whose little fruits had icicles hanging from them.

I intended to post this yesterday but the electricity in my neighborhood kept going out on the 12th, including when I’d almost finished editing this picture but hadn’t yet saved it, so I shut my computer off as a precaution. In any case, since today is Valentine’s Day, you can downplay the ice and let the red symbolize romance.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 14, 2021 at 4:25 AM

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Lush Spanish moss

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The first thing that caught my attention at Palmetto State Park on January 29th wasn’t the palmettos but the lush Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) hanging from many of the trees. Extra points if you know that Spanish moss is an epiphyte and a vascular plant rather than a true moss. Even more points if you can say lush Spanish moss quickly five times without messing up.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 9, 2021 at 3:47 AM

Snow-covered possumhaw

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As yet another picture from January 10th, and perhaps the last, here’s a fruitful possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) I spotted on someone’s front yard half a mile from home. The species name tells us that possumhaws shed their leaves in the winter, but some—this one, for instance—take a good deal longer to do so than others.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2021 at 4:40 AM

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Ice on lichens on cedar elm

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The branches of cedar elm trees (Ulmus crassifolia) often have flanges and sometimes also lichens on them.
They rarely add ice, but they did on January 10th as snow and sleet came down.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “You will say that I am old and mad, but I answer that there is no better way of keeping sane and free from anxiety than being mad.” — Michelangelo at age 74.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2021 at 4:24 AM

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Fiat lux, fiat nix

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The Latin words “Fiat lux” mean “Let there be light.” Yesterday morning in Austin anyone who’d said instead “Fiat nix,” “Let there be snow,” would have seen that come to pass. I took the photograph above looking out our front window at a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) that the cedar waxwings had left alone.

I ended up spending two hours and then another three hours yesterday documenting our rare snowfall. More pictures will appear in the days ahead.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2021 at 4:35 AM

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The temperature dropped 15° in as many minutes

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There I was lying on the ground at the edge of Lake Pflugerville on December 30th last year to photograph this bare bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) against menacing clouds when suddenly the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, both noticeably, as the predicted cold front came through. Adding some brightness to the bleak sky and dark branches were the colorful lichens on the tree’s trunk:

Unrelated thought for today:  “Credulity is always greatest in times of calamity.” — Charles MacKay,
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, first published in 1841.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 10, 2021 at 4:39 AM

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